Belfast’s Sea Pinks are as prolific as they come in times of musical brevity. The primitive garage fuzz of their debut LP ‘Youth Is Wasted’ preceded a near-constant stream of albums and EPs that elicited a tendency to subtly evolve with each release.
From the pure jangle-pop of 2011’s ‘Dead Seas’ (featuring ‘Peripheral Vision’ – a song that defines the band’s propensity for despondent, melodic brilliance), to the pristine pop of ‘Freak Waves’, the more realised ‘Soft Days’ and the triumphant outsider pop of this year’s ‘Watercourse’ each release marks a more dynamic step forward for the band, yet one thing remains a constant: a bittersweet approach to pop, and a buoyant, melodic instinct that wouldn’t sound out of place amongst Sarah Records’ roster.
Recorded at the all analogue Lullabye Factory studio in Amsterdam during a day off on their 2017 European Tour, opener 'Minimum Wage' is three and a half minutes of fuzzed out tour fatigue and exasperation caught in a single take on two inch tape.
It’s a much more abrasive sound than those who have only heard Sea Pinks on record will be accustomed to, but it captures the frenetic, borderline aggressive energy of the band at their live best. “I’m sick of complaining” sings Neil Brogan, and he sounds it, the oxymoronic refrain of the verse bleeding into the fuzztoned euphoria of the wordless chorus.
It’s a blistering opening to this compilation of sessions, the bulk of which come from the band’s three BBC performances recorded in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Revisiting albums from Dead Seas and 'Freak Waves' to 'Soft Days' and 'Watercourse' the album also features a killer, definitive new version of their first ever single 'Japanese Knotweed'.
Across its eleven tracks 'Minimum Wage' works both as a companion to the band’s studio output of the last seven years and as a short, sharp, catalogue spanning Iive set in its own right.
You can hear it first on Clash - tune in below.
Available from all good digital outlets from December 8th.
Words: Hayley Scott
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